LAHORE - After repeatedly criticising him for his shoddy performances, former Pakistan captain Muhammad Yousuf today urged PCB to consider flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi in leadership role for the ODI team. In the recent past, the barrage of criticism from Yousuf even prompted Afridi at one stage to dub him and Shoaib Akhtar as the "heckle and jeckle" and "Mr Bean" appearing on television channels.
But now it appears that Yousuf has made truce with temperamental Afridi. "Afridi is the best person to lead the one-day side in the next World Cup and I think the board should not waste anymore time in appointing him to this position," Yousuf said. "Afridi has the right attitude and needed aggression to lead Pakistan in one-day matches and in the next World Cup," he added.
The master batsman pointed out that Afridi was a better choice to lead the one-day side than Misbah-ul-Haq since he was not a passive captain and had experience of leading Pakistan in the last World Cup in 2011. "This team will not move forward aggressively unless you have a captain like Afridi at the helm of affairs," Yousuf stated.
Afridi himself has made it clear that he has ambitions to play until the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and would not be immune to leading Pakistan again if the opportunity was offered to him by the board. Afridi was captain of the one-day and T20 sides before a disagreement with the board in May, 2011 led to him being removed as captain and Misbah taking over this responsibility.
Later, the board appointed M Hafeez as captain of the national T20 side while Misbah leads the test and ODI squads. Yousuf said that Pakistan had very balanced squads for T20 and ODI cricket and all they needed was a positive and aggressive captain like Afridi. "He has played over 350 one-day matches and his experience will only help the team change its attitude," Yousuf stated.
Misbah, 39, has become very sensitive to any suggestions about his retirement plans and insisted recently that he would play in the next World Cup as his fitness and form was very good.